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[FF7] Tuto 3D scene creation


Hi all,
First, a large merçi to my partners:
Shampignon for his help in textures.
Satsuki for her help my scenes cut during my few galleys.
Mayo Master for his few explanations on recreating scenes
And finally a very large merçi a translation for this White Wind (I'm Belgian and I do not speak a word of English ^^)

I'm writing a tutorial on how to model scenes for FF7 with Sketchup and Thea Render. It will be updated, there will be several parts because it's not a light task and it will take me time to explain everything  :)

If you want the tools used in this tutorial, don't hesitate to contact me. I can show you where you can get them.
You will need Sketchup and the rendering engine Thea Render.

If you need the modeling programs used in this tutorial, I can provide them in private.
So you'll need Sketchup and the rendering engine Thea Render (prepare your wallet or contact me).

The scene this tutorial is based on is just an example. I have already modeled it so if you're wanting to help I'd advise you to work on another scene. Just notify me which you want to try and I'll tell you if I've already done that one or if I'm currently working on it. I have a few scenes that are in the works.

Let's begin with the creation of the base. It is the step which you'll want to care the most about, because if your main axes of modeling are not precisely aligned with the main axes of the original scene, you'll end up with a scene that will look out of place and nothing like the original.
But let's quit the blabla and let's get started!

1) Importing the camera!
Spoiler: show
-First, launch Sketchup. Select the measure unit you prefer in the Architecture section, I went for meter.
-Right-click the guy being there in the original scene and delete him.
-Then go in Camera in the main menu and click Adapter une nouvelle photo/Match New Photo.

When your original scene is loaded, you'll see several lines: the full lines are your main axes, blue being height, and red and green being the ones that we'll use to create the sides of our objects!

In that scene, it's not hard to place the dotted axes in the correct locations! In fact all you have to do is to conform to the shape of the imported scene. The yellow square marks the axes origin point and can be moved. It's best to place it in the corner of the room, then it will be easier to place the sides and once those are in place, the height axis should be aligned with the height of your scene.
When you're done, it should look like this:

-If it does, click on Terminer/End.
If after clicking you realise that your axes are misaligned (that can happen a lot) don't worry, just click on the little wheels in your Match New Photo window:

or if the window isn't open, go back in Camera and click Modifier la photo adaptée/Edit Matched Photo and select your scene.

You will finally get to this:

To make sure your scene is perfectly aligned, the method is quite simple.
-Click the tool Rectangle

-Place your axes origin point in the corner, placing the main axes on what you think are the main axes of the original scene and create your rectangle (the right shape for an entire scene is not always a rectangle).

-Then click on the Pousser-Tirer/Push-Pull icon. Pull your rectangle out of the ground, making it a volume and raise it to the height of your room!
If all your main axes look correctly aligned, they're now in the right place.

That ends the part about the creation of the base for the modeling.

2) Modeling base
Spoiler: show
-Click the Orbite/Orbit icon and go to the main screen, click and turn your object slightly around.

-Right-click on the faces of the volume and delete all the faces but the ground. Do not delete the bones either, you'll need them to figure out the scene height easily when you have to.
You should have this:

-Come back to your scene by clicking the little tab holding its name.

-Recreate the missing parts of the ground. I was missing the little rectangle that marks the entrance (where half of the door mat lies), so we select the tool Rectangle and we add it.

-On that scene, we also need a rectangle hole in the ground for the pinball machine, so Rectangle tool again and we draw it.

-We now need that rectangle to be a hole, I use the Orbite/Orbittool and I delete the face of the rectangle.

Back to the main screen, I realise that the ground has to have some thickness, so I'm adding it.
-Easy! Select the Push-Pull tool once again and now drag down the ground face to make it a volume. Just make it conform to what is shown on the original image.

The ground is done.

Something we can do now already is the creation of the "groups", that will make texturing easier later on because a texture can be applied to a whole group /object just by clicking it.
-To create a group, first click the Arrow icon. That's the Sélectionner/Select tool.

-Mouse wheel zooms and unzooms. Right-click your 3D model and choose Créer un groupe/Create a group.

-Repeat the whole process to model the walls now, and don't forget, create groups for them as well, that'll make things a lot easier later on.

3) Modeling the decorative objects
Spoiler: show
Since it's a simple model, let's start with the air vent. If you want it nice and all though, you will have to spend a bit more time!
-First the Rectangle tool to create a square in that group.
-Then a smaller square in it so we have the border.
-I delete the face of the inner square to create the hole
-And then I Pull the border out to give it a bit of volume.

A bit of creativity is a good thing. Don't forget you can Push and Pull various objects to add a bit of volume to them, as long as they aren't obstacle characters can run into, like some pieces on the walls. Adding a bit of volume here and there where you can is a way to increase esthetics and realism.

-Then don't forget to create the group  :)

Now we have to make the bars of the railings. To do so, try to keep precise measures. The measures should be readable at the bottom of the window, but if it's not the case contact me and I'll you give the informations.
-With the Pencil tool, I mark the spots where I'll start to draw the bars. The height of the vent being 2,77m, so with 10 bars the spacing has to be 0,27m. I'll make triangular bars like in a real air vent. When all measures are taken and marked, I delete the rectangle face that got back there when marking the spots.
-Generally those bars are slanted, so I draw my lines a little higher than on the original. I draw them on the red axis with the thickness that fits; in this case I went for 0,25m.

-To make the bars oblique, I draw a vertical line (blue axis) of the desired height. Here my line will be 0,08m and then I'll go up another 0,08m for the next line, that will be the height of these objects.

-I connect those points and the starting point together, I delete the red and blue axes with the Eraser tool; we end up with our a triangle.

Now we want that triangle to be a 3D model, so once again we resort to the Push-Pull tool.
-Moving slightly away will form a new line. Drag the arete and pull it out, that will elongate the object towards the opposite face.
-Create a group with that piece.

-Now that the first bar is done, we can just copy-paste it (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V) to duplicate it. For each of them, I place the front edge of the bar onto the marks that were drawn earlier, for precision!
But watch out if you paste the model and move the camera, the piece will disappear. If that happens, you'll need to Ctrl+V it again. And if it is misplaced, use the Déplacer/Move tool to put it in the correct spot.

-Since I'm aiming for something faithful to the original, I'll add the 2 vertical bars too. I repeat the process but this time for 2 Pulled Rectangles going across the railings.

-When an object is created and if it's meant to have one same texture, don't forget to create a group for it, that'll make texturing easier later on.

Here's a rendering of our scene so you can see where we're currently at!

4) Creating the pipes
Spoiler: show
The creation of a pipe may seem long sometimes because you first have to figure out its axis, which can be tedious.
-So the first thing to do is to figure out its axis.
The only way I know is to have a square around the base of the pipe and to have the median lines drawn (from the middle of the sides) so that we can determine where the center is. I see no other way. So we go for a square and perpendicular lines, the good old geometry we thought useless back then in the school days!
-Once you've figured out the center, create a circle based on it.
-The base of the pipe needs a border, so we draw a bigger outer circle as well, that makes our border.

We now have to set what will be the shape of the pipe.
-With the Pencil, start from the center of the circles and draw a perpendicular line from the ground and up. That line will connect to the axis perpendicularly coming from the point of arrival.

-We can now delete the radius lines we used to figure out the center of the circle.

Now we need the Arc/Ark tool to form the curve that the pipe will be taking.
-We select a point on each axis and connect them with Ark; a purple ark appears.
-When we're there, we just right-click and delete the 90° angle.

-Now we click the Suivez-moi/Follow me tool and we start from the inner circle on the ground. When going up, keep following the curved axis for the pipe to get its bent shape.
Sometimes the pipe will end up misplaced and let me tell you, that's normal! The original scenes have anomalies and everything won't be always correctly alined. That was the case here, but in general that can be remedied by recutting the tracings via Photoshop or Gimp.

Now let's give shape to the border of the pipe.
-For that, draw a vertical axis on the face of the pipe and a green or red axis connecting the 2 circles.
-Connect the extremities of those axes with Ark.

-With the Follow me tool, go around the circle and we have now a nice border.

-I'll be saying it again and again, but don't forget to create a group for that new object.

Through those techniques, I've been able to model the other pipes and rectangles. The same processes have been repeated and here we are:

5) Creating the furniture
Spoiler: show
We first need to take the measures.
-To do so, draw a line from the green axis and one from the red axis.
The left side of the closet is not perpendicular to the back wall, the right side is. We shape the left side accordingly with the correct measures and we delete the other lines with the Eraser.

-We make that closet side a volume with Push-Pull, conforming to the height of that piece in the original scene.
-Starting from the back wall of the scene, we can Pull the block that will be our closets.

The lower part is done, we now need the shelves.
-With Pencil, Eraser, Push-Pull I'm sure you're up to the task!

6) Other details of the furniture
Now for the details: the doors of the closets.
-To add some detail to a group, just double-click it to select the object.

Most of the details of that kind of objects have no hit-box in-game, they aren't obstacles in the middle of the fields, so you can be creative and give them some nice esthetics.
-First, the spacing between the doors. With precise measures the result will look nicer.

I want the edges of those doors to be rounded.
-I measure and I draw an inner rectangle that fits into what becomes the outer rectangle and I Pull it a bit to give it some volume.

-As for the border of the pipe earlier, I draw one vertical and one horizontal line to form an angle, I connect their extremities with Ark, and I Pull that shape around the door so we have a rounded border.

-Then we just need to make that door a group and to copy-paste it on the other rectangles with Ctrl+C Ctrl+V.

You now know the basics of modeling with Sketchup and can create objects.
Things like bottles, glasses, etc will be inserted only at the end of this tutorial! I've got a little trick for those  :)
I'm gonna complete the creation of the objects on that scene. The furniture handles will be added at the end too, you'll see why.

Something to keep in mind when creating a carpet, a mat, a sheet of paper, a flag etc.. something thin: give it a bit of volume, even 0,01m, because if you don't the object may become transparent after the rendering!

Okay, when we're done, the scene is ready to be decorated, but objects like glasses and bottles will be added at the end as I said.

7) Injection of the materials into the scene
Spoiler: show
For this part, we need Sketchup but also Thea Render which allows us to work on textures and make them look realistic.

Let's begin with the neon tubes, those are a source of light and will be the hardest to get right...
-Start with the Colorier/Color tool.

If you've been assigning a group to every object till now, then now they won't be hard to texture because the texture is applied to a whole group, thus to the entire object.

-In the drop-down menu, select a color and paint the object. Here I choose yellow for the yellow neon tubes.

When selecting your color, it's a good idea to give it a name in the field above so that you can easily recognize it in Thea Render. As you can see, I named mine "Jaune Néon" (Neon Yellow).

-To apply your texture, you just need to click the object with the Paint tool.

Next, I want to give that texture a lighting effect.
-I click on Thea Tool. If "Thea Render" is not listed, go in Affichage > Barre d'outil (View > Toolbar) and select Thea Render. Starting it up can take some time.
When creating a new material, Thea might give it a predefined texture; if that happens click Remove Thea Material.

-In Thea Tool on the Material tab, you should see your colors in the drop-down menu. If it's not the case, click the Refresh button next to the menu.

-I select my Neon Yellow, which brings me there.
Double-click the image and wait for Thea Render to appear in the Material Lab sub-window.

Here we have all the material edition tools: texture, lighting and many more.

-But first, let's go in the Emitter section.

-I click on the little square next to Enable to.. enable the lighting!
-In the Color tab, we can set up the color for the lighting. I choose yellow.
The Power tab is about light intensity. I'm testing it at 200 Watt, but that can be modified any moment.
-I want those neon tubes to be slightly translucent too, so I click on Basic, then on the 3 little lines beside Translucent and I select my color.

We can see in the Preview sub-window what our material will look like once the rendering will be done.

Let me render it to show you what that effect brings to the scene. The purple neon is already done too.
I've removed the sunlight from the room so we can see the neon lights better, and I've set the quality to Preview for the rendering to take less time.
/!\ Watch out, if you want to preview your textureless scenes and render them in HQ, now it will take more time because the program has to set up its lighting and texture engine first.

-I find the lights of those neon tubes too weak, so I'm increasing the Power from 300 to 500W. Which gives:

8 ) Texturing the monitor
Spoiler: show
I'm now gonna set up the texture for the TV, which will be a bit more complicated.

-For the TV monitor, we first open its group. I've drawn a rectangle being the screen of the monitor.
-With the tool Coloriser/Colorize, we click on Créer une matière/Create a material. That will open that window:

-In it, we click the Folder icon to select and load a texture. Here I'm gonna use the "Mire Pal" texture that Shampignon kindly made for me.
-Give a name to that texture and confirm with Ok.

When applying the texture, you can see it isn't centered but spread all over. We have to adjust it.
-So we go in Coloriser/Colorize, we click the texture and then Edition.

-In the lower section of the window, you can see what are the dimensions of the texture. Change them to conform to the dimensions of the screen /the rectangle, and now your texture is perfectly fitted and centered.

I want the glass of the screen to be entirely translucent and to have a slight reflection so that the screen looks slightly shiny; with some reflection on what is displayed on the screen, it will look more realistic.
-To do that, in Colorize > Edition I make the screen white, and there's an opacity bar which I slide down to 0. That makes for a totally translucent glass (then I paint the body of monitor in dark grey, I find it nicer like that).

Next, the texture edition in Thea Render. I will set the screen image lighting at 600 with an efficacity of 600, but this time I'll give it a texture.
-Start up the material creator in Thea, click the Basic icon, then the Texture tab next to Diffuse.

-On the right, select the current texture, then in Bitmap select your own texture.

-Now in the Emitter tab, click Enable and I set the power of the light at 600.
-Click Texture and apply the texture previewed in the sub-window. Then we can close the material creator.

I want the glass to have some reflection, so let's edit it.
-In Thea Tool, I select my glass in the drop-down menu.
-I open the 2nd drop-down menu, then in the Thick Glass tab, I give it a reflection of 1. That allows for the light beams to be contained in the TV monitor.

We'll create the textures of the monitor, but once the room will be lit up. That's the next step!

But that glass is not the result I was hoping for. With the part of the tutorial covering the creation of the glass not being written already, I'm linking you to some glass materials on the Thea Render website. To inject one into your scene, just select it and open it in the material editor in Thea Render.

9) Creating the lightings
Spoiler: show
It will take place in the Light tab in Thea Tool. There are 3 types of light: a neutral light (Pointlight), a beamed light (Spotlight) and a "wall" light (IES Light).
-In this scene I'll need only the Pointlight. Below in the Light tab, you can see Create Light, click there and let's select Pointlight.

-The easiest way to create a light is to draw a vertical line (blue axis) with the Pencil and to place the light at the extremity of it, then to delete the line. That way you can have your lights placed wherever you want.

-When your Pointlight is placed, a dotted line is displayed: it is about the default intensity of your light. Most often, you'll want to set up the intensity yourself.
/!\ Do not resize or move the 3D object that Thea made you, that would cancel the effects of that light!
-To modify the settings of your light, you need the Selection tool in Sketchup. I click on my light with it, and then in the Light tab in Thea Tools  I set the Watts at 500 and the Efficacity at 500 too.
-It's possible to add shadows too, some will be needed here. That can be done in the Shadow tab. I go in the Soft Shadow tab and leave the settings at their default states.

To get your lights settings right, render your scene every time you change something, so you can see where you're at after every change.
To duplicate your light, right-click it and Créer un composant/Create a component. Don't mistake it for Créer un objet/Create an object ! Then copy-paste (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V) will do the trick.

10) Creating a bump and a displacement (textured material)
Spoiler: show
-First create your material and Colorize the part you want.

-Then Thea Tool > Material, and select the material to texture.
-Double-click the image to start the material edition. Your material is previewed on the sphere thingie in the sub-window above.

-Click the Struct. icon. In the Bump section, click the Texture tab.
/!\ This time, you texture must be black and white: white gives the impression of relief and black of hollow. Set the percentages at the desired levels.
-Then in the Sigma section, click the Texture tab and load your image in black and white, that gives a bit of contrast.

-Click then on the Displace icon. Don't forget to Enable the Displacement.
-Do the same than in Struct. and import your black and white textures.
-Set the Height (cm) of the displacement in the corresponding section.

11) Adding other objects
Spoiler: show
Sketchup has an interesting feature that lets you insert various objects into your scenes, that is the object importation.
-In the case of this scene, we need some glasses. I head for the Sketchup website, here's the link:
-Once you're there, just type in the search bar the kind of item you need in your scene, and you will have the choice among several models for that kind of item.
-Download and import into Sketchup via Sketchup > Fichier > Importer (Sketchup > File > Import) and that's it, now you can select the model and use it.

/!\ There's one rule not to forget: if you want a 3DWarehouse model, you can't use it as is, that would be a copyright infringement. That can be remedied with texture change though  :)

There are still some party explain to finish the job, but you can model your already full scene with this great beginning tutorial

Always one to help me?
It's easy to try! :(

Hi all, I'm looking for 3D modelers, contact me to work in a project.


Here is the torrent, with textures for those wanting to learn.


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